Saturday Features

Hymn to the Golden Calf

  • We kowtowed before the kings and princes, bent and bowed at the sight of despots and tyrants, or mercilessly bulldozed those who were weak and helpless, all the while singing songs of the glory of the people
- ABHINAWA DEVKOTA
No, we are not the descendents of the captives who dragged huge boulders across desert sands to make mighty mausoleums for forgotten kings. We have nothing to do with those who erected the Great Wall while having soldiers point arrows at them

Dec 23, 2017-We worship you, the Golden Calf. Not in a temple with incense and offerings, not in a mosque with hands held aloft, legs folded and eyes closed, not in a synagogue where the flames burns bright on the nine-handed candelabrum. But in a forlorn, desolate place, fetid with decomposing human remains, where every scratch on the surface reveals skulls and bones and the surrounding is filled with shrill cries of tortured souls begging for mercy. For this is your temple, your place of worship.

There is also a polite way of paying homage to you. More humane, one might even say. Something that does not involve unsightly things and unbearable smell. Something that does not overpower the senses with guilt and remorse, if we have them at all. Like butchering a goat in one fell sweep of a khukuri instead of killing it slowly, cut by cut, and watching it writhe and go numb with pain while the blood gushes out of its body like water from a freshly dug geyser. Or, to be more precise, throwing a curtain over the whole incident and imagining, lying to oneself, that it did not take place at all.  

We have mastered that art as well. In the past, we kowtowed before the kings and princes, riding white horses and dressed in shining armours, as they marched proudly beaming with joy in victory parades after conquering lands and killing people. ‘Unification’, we called it.

We bent and bowed at the sight of despots and tyrants laughing in their dark dungeons and cavernous, iron-clad prisons, living in their marble palaces with crystal chandeliers and silken rugs— ‘oligarchs,’ we called them.

Later, when it was finally our turn, we aligned ourselves with the high priests who could worship you with utmost reverence in broad daylight, all the while pretending not to. Magicians they were. We forgot what it was to be humans, scolded and spat upon each other, looted and plundered among ourselves and mercilessly bulldozed those who were weak and helpless, all the while singing songs of the glory of the people: ‘democracy’ we call it now.

How could we forget you? You were the reason all this happened in the first place.

With your blessing, we have overcome the limitations of being a human being. There is no laughing, crying or empathising anymore, just straightforwardcommunication. There are no friends now, just contacts; no regrets but failures; no love, just business; no lives, just numbers. The war cry of marauding hordes does not trouble us anymore. The shrieks and screams of those forced under their swords do not awaken our conscience.

No, we are not the descendents of the captives who dragged huge boulders across desert sands to make mighty mausoleums for forgotten kings and queens. We have nothing to do with those who worked day and night to erect the Great Wall while having archers point arrows at them.The blood of the black slaves who harvested gold for their masters and were rewarded with whiplash, hunger and death does not flow in our veins.

They were an entirely different species altogether, aliens who descended on our planet thousands of years ago to perform their drama. Back then, the world was their stage and they were just… actors. All that remains of them is a foggy, imprecise memory.

So set us forth in your path so that we can continue to pay our obeisance to you, with guns blazing and bombs going off instead of the chiming of the bell and beating of the drum. Blood shall replace water at your altar and flesh shall be thy bread.

Published: 23-12-2017 09:09

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